A Quick Look at Custom Quilting

Amish with a Twist – custom quilting on a customer quilt

Sometimes – ok, all the time – when I’m custom quilting I usually have to wait for the quilt to speak to me.

It sounds a bit silly, but it’s true! I have to ruminate on the design elements in the quilt, the type of colors used, the quilter’s preferences… there are SO many things to consider!

Custom quilting – cable/rope design in the border

The most helpful thing is to ask the customer if there is any quilting that they HATE!

That helps me gauge what they would like and how to finish their quilt.

It makes me giddy to hear a customer say “I trust you, just make it look good.” Because then I can play with the empty spaces and really make some elements of the quilt shine!

Creating a single feather in the corner

On this specific quilt, I had to leave it on the frame for DAYS before I finally got some inspiration.

I even called my mom and we FaceTimed while I rejected idea after idea. My mom was trying to be so helpful, but none of what she suggested would accent the quilt like I wanted.

Luckily, on one of our late night phone calls, it just hit me.


Create cornerstones in the pixelated corners, and then straight lines through the corners of each color block. The feathers in the cornerstone give it a tad of a vintage feel, which is perfect for this quilt!

After all, it is called “Amish with a Twist”!

But the colors are a lot more modern; so I had to throw in some modern quilting too. Can you see the swirls throughout the black center??

They are hard to see…

Can you see them now? They give me all the heart eyes! ???

Sometimes I just feel like the luckiest girl in the world when I get to quilt something like this!!

Also, when you’re quilting you may need to mark the quilt to keep everything spaced perfectly.

I keep a few different marking pens on hand, like the frixion pen.

(Not Affiliated)

But because this quilt was so colorful with a black background, I had to use a chalk pencil.

It marked the colors perfectly and rubbed out when I was done! Can you see my chalk line?

The chalk lines helped me keep the ruler in line while I moved across large sections of this quilt.

I don’t do ruler work for every customer. It is a lot more time intensive, but it can make the quilt look so much more professional!

But be aware: if you offer ruler work to customers, it is a lot more time intensive and you should be charging more. Just sayin’.

So here’s a quick recap.

A few items to keep in mind when custom quilting:

  • Know your customer and their preferences
  • Look at the design of the quilt – is it vintage or modern?
  • Fabric patterns – you can pull out designs from fabric and reproduce them in your quilting!
  • Negative space – a longarm quilters dream!!
  • Dense quilting or loose quilting? – some quilters like their quilts QITD (Quilt It To Death ?) while others like the stitches spaced out as far as possible.
  • Chalk lines and Ruler work – takes more time and costs more money, but can look amazing!

All these items should be considered when custom quilting. And if you keep them in mind when quilting, it will be that much easier to make your customers happy!

And don’t be afraid to ask them questions and get a feel for their personal preferences. That is the most important thing of all!!